A student in my Professional Communication 318 class shared the experience of going to a job interview in which the interviewer asked her to log on to Facebook and show her page. It surprised me that the future employer would go to such lengths, but I took it as a valuable warning.
For college students, it is important to mature into a more professional online image particularly when we are looking for jobs. Having an online image that you would willingly show to your relatives or professors is a tool that can allow you to network at any time. Does this mean I take down all of your pictures and only put up “professional” ones? No!
The point is for your social media account to reflect positively of you. It is not necessary to misconstrue the truth, but rather to have discretion when writing comments and posting pictures. A good rule of thumb is, “If you wouldn’t say it in front of your supervisor, or at the dinner table with 20 other people, don’t post it!”
Also, note that though you may set your profile to private, it is still accessible by those who are determined to see it. There are free programs available for public use that allow you to view private Facebook accounts (www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdv0FdBGrp0)as well as sites like Spokeo that consolidate all of your personal information (address, marriage status, life stlyle, income, etc.) and for a small fee allows anybody to view it.
Manage your online presence. Start by discovering what personal information exists on the web. If you have never Googled yourself, I suggest beginning with that. For more information on how to manage your online presence, view this presentation “How to Create and Manage Your Online Presence” by Ellyssa Kroski of Barnard College Library.